Note from the editor: Recently, a friendly reader called Marcos wrote in asking about motorcycle games. He was a biker himself, and had not played a fun motorcycle game since Road Rash 3D on the original Playstation. Having not enjoyed Trials Fusion, Marcos was considering three titles: RideMotorcycle Club, and MotoGP 2014. Being a complete ignoramus when it comes to motorcycles and the games they star in, I passed the question over to our contributing editor Oliver Fox who had written extensively about (car) racing game Trackmania. Instead of providing the clear answer he was contracted for, Oliver responded with a cryptic mp3 file (along with its transcript). These, of course, did not answer Marcos’ question at all. – Julian Feeld

 

Regarding Motorcycle Games by Oliver Fox

(Musical accompaniment by Beefsh)


Transcript of the mp3:

Dear Marcos,

I love motorcycles too. I have never owned one, though I would certainly like to. Like you, Marcos, I live in a big city. My friends warn me against motorbike ownership – they all say something terrible would happen to me if I were to ride a bike. Marcos, did you know that when news of the steam train first spread across the world, people were fearful? Not of the loud, screeching machinery, or the thick blooms of toxic smog, people were afraid because this new locomotive reached speeds that were completely outside the bounds of human experience. Nobody knew what would happen to the human body it it was made to reach high speeds through artificial means. Imagine that, Marcos, having no idea whether your mind would simply collapse if the brain which housed it was made to travel at such speeds .

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We knew no better, Marcos. I wonder how they would have felt had they seen a game like Burnout Paradise, the screen edges melting inward with the sheer sense of velocity, or Hang-On, where a turn would lean your entire being toward the tarmac, the point of pivot on the wheels’ tip forming a crease in space, as if bike and road were being folded together.

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Marcos, do you think that maybe when those first travelers boarded the first train, that’s when everything changed? When things sped up, with no ill effects, when it sunk in that minds would not be scrambled by locomotion; was this when our thirst for speed began?

A motorbike is sleek, compact. Riders envelop their bikes. A rider on their bike tells the history of the vehicle like the inward rings on a tree. Listen, Marcos – you have the engine and wheels at the core – the raging beast, a tightly woven system of parts and materials, assembled from the finest offerings of industrial capitalism. This beating heart of raw technology is where it all began.

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Then, the outer layer, the rider, thinly spread across the machinery, stretched over, fleshy, brittle. And then, finally, the outermost crust, the veiled afterthought of the whole process – protection gear, a helmet and leather armour. Marcos, did you know that biking leathers only came to prominence in the first world war, and the first motorcycle helmet was only patented in the 1950s? After going all out on the things for half a century, we meekly, begrudgingly accepted our physical limitations.

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These machines are not like the locomotives of old, they do not cradle us toward their destination. We are the exoskeletons, Marcos. We are the first line of defence.

As the wheels crease space and time into a neat fold, as we lean into the tarmac, like Hang-On, like Burnout Paradise, like Motogp, our bodies will be there to wedge the gap between bike and road.

Thanks for writing in, Marcos. I hope this answers your question.

All best,

Oliver

About The Author

Oliver Fox hasn't had a poem published in years and writes too little. He plays sitar and blues harmonica and will forgive most of a game's sins if the soundtrack is good enough.

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